Victoria Falls ready for tourists influx

Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
THE water levels at the Mighty Victoria Falls are at a record high but there are few visitors to enjoy this majestic destination owing to constrained international travel induced by Covid-19.

Regarded as the country’s tourism capital, Victoria Falls was recently named second best place to visit this year by a German publication while a United States travel magazine Travel + Leisure also named one of the local facilities, Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, as one of the 500 best hotels in the world and among the top five in Africa.

The recognition, coupled with record water levels on the Zambezi River, at close to 3 000 cubic metres falling down the waterfall per second according to authorities, is what the industry requires at this stage to rebuild its confidence post Covid-19 lockdowns.

Tourism was one of the hardest hit economic sectors as the pandemic led to unprecedented international travel restrictions leaving hotels and tour operators without any business.

As the situation begins to thaw, especially with countries intensifying vaccination roll-outs, Zimbabwe needs a tonic for its tourism, and the roaring Mighty Victoria Falls looks set to serve as one.

The Zambezi River Authority says this year’s water flow is expected to be the highest in 50 years as the current water levels normally happen in April or May.

Last year around this time about 929 cubic metres of water fell down the waterfall per second. However, travellers could not experience the waterfall because of the lockdown as the Rainforest was closed.

A roaring thunder can be heard from as far as Mkhosana township, while the cloudy white smoke of the falls can be seen from as far as the airport, 20km away.

Inside the Rainforest one is welcomed by the deafening sound of a blanket of water falling 100 metres down the 1 000-metre wide waterfall, rising as smoke and raining again within the Rainforest to soak the environment.

Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) Victoria Falls chair Mr Anald Musonza says players in the industry anticipate the surge in water to translate to huge tourist arrivals.

“The destination is viable and ready to receive guests. With the current water levels, vaccines roll out and markets opening up, surely Victoria Falls should be on every travellers’ bucket list,” he said.

“We are encouraged by being ranked as one of the top hotels (Victoria Falls Safari Lodge) and being listed number two gives us confidence to look forward to host guests.”

Leading Zimbabwean hospitality group Africa Albida Tourism (AAT), with a portfolio of facilities in Victoria Falls held a virtual meeting with international tour operators and travel agents who revealed that prospective travellers worldwide have been waiting patiently to experience the Falls once travel restrictions are lifted.

There have been small groups of tourists visiting Victoria Falls lately.

Some travel agents who are charmed by the current water levels have been active on social media platforms marketing the destination.
One of renowned agents Mr Vusa Sibanda, posting on social media said:

“The iconic Victoria Falls is pumping. For the past 20 years I have guided thousands of people from all corners of the globe but never have I seen Victoria Falls this full during the time of the year. Waters from the big catchment area in Angola haven’t arrived yet. I just can’t imagine what they will look like. The flow is almost three times last year’s records.”

Travel Wild Africa said: “The Zambezi is at its highest for this time of the year and it’s spectacular. We are ready for international travel to start in earnest.” — @ncubeleon

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